On the Line: 'Sushi Dave' Fernandez, of Sushi At the Venetian Gentlemen's Club, Part One

On the Line: 'Sushi Dave' Fernandez, of Sushi At the Venetian Gentlemen's Club, Part One
Photo by Mary Pastrana

Sitting down for lunch at Twisted Vine in downtown Fullerton, Dave Fernandez and I talked about family, restaurant reviews and great wines. It wasn't quite a business meeting, more like two friends sharing a bite to eat. Of course, he periodically checked his iPhone for incoming reservations, mentioning it would be packed tonight. The life of this sushi chef starts with a 5:30 a.m. seafood order and ends whenever he decides to stop taking requests. But at the moment, it was about another glass of red.

Your earliest food memory:
Sitting at the dinner table all night because I wouldn't eat my green peas.

Favorite meal growing up:
My grandmother's corned beef hash flautas.

Your best recent food find:

Lindo Michoacan (2) in Anaheim. I'm not gonna worry about lard; I want real Mexican food.

Most undervalued ingredient:
Salt. I salt everything. Sometimes people put too much. I hate low-sodium soy sauce. I use regular; I just tell people to use less.

Tell us about your jalapeño sauce.
I made the sauce by accident working at O Sushi eight years ago. The owner asked me to make something with a kick for happy hour. I started with jalapeños sautéed with sake and threw some anonymous ingredients. It was such a big hit people requested the concoction daily. So I blended big batches of it before work.

Sushi Dave's Jalapeño Sauce adds a smokey kick to any dish. Excellent on chicken, fresh fish, meats and vegetables. Mix into condiments for a spicy spread or dressing. Go to sushidave.net for recipes.

Where can we purchase it?
Currently, you can purchase it at Sushi At the Venetian. I'm working on a shopping cart on my website, sushidave.net. I'm also working with Sprouts Grocery Stores; hopefully, it will be there and at other specialty markets soon.

Who came up with your logo?
It was originally supposed to be my tattoo and was designed by Erica Stone. I had it transformed into my logo, and it was redesigned by Regan "Ray Gun" Fell.

What fast food do you admit to eating?
I love Del Taco after 2 a.m. It's the perfect food on the way home after a long night of making sushi.

What is your beverage of choice, and where do you get it?
Jameson [whiskey] is my drink.

How did you end up at The Venetian Gentlemen's Club?
A friend of mine brought me in to check the place out and said, "We have a perfect spot for you upstairs." I checked it out, and it was perfect-- away from the stage. You get the occasional dance that goes by. I met the owner, and it was a done deal. . . .

One food you can't live without:
Bacon, 'cuz it's bad for you.

What's the most money ever spent on a meal?
Mr. Chow in Beverly Hills. Party of four: $850. We had an assortment of everything on the menu, from green shrimp to Peking duck carved at the table. Evian water was, I believe, $14, and it kept coming. The sad part was I was still hungry when we left. [Editor's Note: Fortunately, he wasn't the one footing the bill.]

What did you create for the 10th anniversary of Shady Canyon Country Club?
They wanted something different, so they contacted me. I made poke salad served in a crispy wonton skin, topped with guacamole and Sushi Dave's Jalapeno Sauce. Next were Venetian Lollipops, which consisted of tuna, yellowtail, salmon, crabmeat and avocado wrapped in a cucumber peel. Other favorites I created were the seared salmon and lime roll, and the yellowtail and jalapeno roll.

What do you think of people who take photographs of their food?
I think it's cool that they are either posting it on Facebook or Instagram. I love it when guests sitting at the sushi bar are looking at their phone, asking me if I can make a dish. I look at their phone, and it's my dish they are looking at.

Weirdest thing you've ever eaten:
It's either called papaitan or dinuguan. They're both Filipino dishes.

Sweet or savory?

Favorite places to eat (besides your own):
Honda Ya, Stubrik's.

You're making breakfast. What are you having?
Scrambled eggs, chorizo, bacon, and sausage. And a mimosa.

Sushi at The Venetian Gentlemen's Club, 1421 N. State College Blvd, Anaheim,
(657) 859-9647; sushidave1@gmail.com; sushidave.net.

Follow Stick a Fork In It on Twitter @ocweeklyfood or on Facebook! And don't forget to download our free Best Of App here!

Use Current Location

Related Location

Venetian Gentlemen's Club

1421 N. State College Blvd.
Anaheim, CA 92806



Upcoming Events

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >